When I started out, they gave me a very rudimentary road map. You know the kind. An X on one end of a long a wavy line labeled: “You are here” and at the other end, another X labeled: “The End.” There was very little in the middle, just a few landmarks along the way. But I figured it was enough to get me where I was going, and I set out.
Walking down the road, I came to a really dark stretch ahead. All around me, things had changed from color to shades of black and gray, like someone was monkeying around with the settings on the television. Hey, wait! I like color! Saddened, I continued on, and the deeper into the gloom I traveled, the darker and gloomier it got. There was a dense forest on both sides, and I just knew – knew! – that there were monsters lurking there, waiting for me to fall so they could pounce. I was pretty sure that there was no going back at this point. I had two choices. I could continue on and hope for the best, or I could stop. Stopping in this place was no option at all, so I kept going.
It got darker and darker, and pretty soon, I could barely see. Every obstacle in the road caused me to stumble, but ever mindful of the beasties in the wood, I caught myself before I crashed to the ground. Scared out of my wits, and more alone than I’d ever been in my life, I pushed on. And then, slowly things began to brighten. It was still a little dismal, but I could see that I was moving out of the really dark place I’d been in. I quickened my pace and with every step, things regained their color and I could feel forest receding. At last, I stepped into the sun again, and I could see it was clear sailing ahead.
You know, I really wish they’d told me about the dark passage before I began this journey. Then I wouldn’t have been so scared. I would have known I just had to walk a little faster and I'd get through, back to a place where the sun shined again.
This was inspired by the many posts I've read lately on blogs out there that deal with depression. In most of them, I hear a kind of hopelessness, and that saddens me. I've begun to think that at some point in our lives, many of us come to that dark passage I wrote about above. These bloggers seem to have, and certainly I did, many years ago. But I discovered that, contrary to my belief at the time, there is light after the darkness. Depression is depressing. Sadness begets more sadness. But in retrospect, I can't help but think that maybe it wouldn't have felt so hopeless, so never-ending, had I only known that it would end. Call this post an annotation to the map by one who once traveled it. Maybe it can help future travelers.